Prerequisites for installing Exchange 2010 Management Tools in Windows

Having trouble opening the Exchange 2010 Management Tools? There are several Windows settings you must enable and installs you may have missed.

Like previous versions of Exchange, Exchange Server 2010 has remote-management tools that let administrators manage an Exchange server without directly connecting to the server console. The hard part, as many have discovered, is actually getting the Exchange 2010 Management Tools up and running in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Exchange Management Tools is a tool set, and not a client application or a Web-based interface to the Exchange management system. It has a bunch of configuration quirks you must understand before you can make it work. The tool set uses a lot of complex, low-level functionality in Windows, most of which isn’t usually configured by default on a Windows box.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to make sure the Exchange 2010 Management Tools install correctly, whether you’re running Windows 7 or Windows Vista:

  • Install Windows 7 Service Pack 1. This may seem obvious, but it’s always worth checking to make sure that the PC has the latest, full service pack for Windows 7. If a colleague was in a hurry, he may have installed a newly minted version of Windows that was created from a gold-release master without SP1. Check this first.
  •  Install Windows Vista Service Pack 2. It’s unlikely that anyone with Windows Vista at this point doesn’t have SP2 installed. If you use Vista as your management client, this is your first prerequisite.

These items aren’t typically included in Windows Vista, so you must add them manually.

  • Install the Exchange 2010 SP1 hotfixes for Windows Vista or Windows 7. This fact is not widely recognized. These hotfixes are part of one of those interim sets of fixes that fall between service packs. For this reason, many admins don’t realize how important they are and often forget to install them.

Here’s what you need to install:

    • The hotfix found in Knowledge Base article 977020 (“Fix: An application that is based on the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2 and that invokes a Web service call asynchronously throws an exception on a computer that is running Windows 7”). The management tools use components affected by this update so those components must be patched in order to work properly.
    • The hotfix found in Knowledge Base article 983440 (“An ASP.NET 2.0 hotfix rollup package is available for Windows 7 and for Windows Server 2008 R2”).
  • Enable the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 and the II6 Management Compatibility features in both Windows Vista and Windows 7. There are several low-level features within Windows 7 that are not turned on by default. Therefore, you must turn them on manually. To do so, navigate to Control Panel -> Programs and Features. Click Turn Windows features on or off on the left-hand side of the window. From there, enable the following functions:
    • Internet Information Services | Web Management Tools | IIS 6 Management Compatibility | IIS 6 Management Console
    • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 | Windows Communication Foundation HTTP Activation
    • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 | Windows Communication Foundation Non-HTTP Activation

Note: You may need to expand these options and select all the available sub-options to get them to work. You’ll also notice that when you turn on IIS 6 Management Compatibility, the IIS 6 Metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatibility option is also automatically selected; this is normal.

If you find you still can’t use the Exchange 2010 Management Tools, you may need to disable the above options completely, reboot, then re-enable them and reboot once more. This ensures that the components in question have been removed and re-applied with the factory default settings.

A look at the components you must enable to properly install the Exchange 2010 Management Tools

Figure 1. Several system -level components must be enabled for the Exchange 2010 Management Tools to work properly.

Once you have these pieces in place, you should be able to run the Exchange installer and add the Exchange 2010 Management Tools. Remember that after each change to your system, it’s a good idea to restart so that the changes can take effect.

Serdar Yegulalp
 has been writing about computers and IT for more than 15 years for a variety of publications, including SearchWinIT.com, SearchExchange.com, InformationWeekand Windows magazine.

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